Love is in the air. I can tell it’s February and Valentine’s Day is approaching from the plethora of magazine advertisements and TV commercials sharing the “perfect gift” to buy your loved ones. If you are like me then there is no need to step foot into a jewelry store when you can just buy chocolate. What better food to feature this month than the one and only chocolate! While I still wouldn’t consider chocolate a health food a small amount each day may be beneficial towards our health. Let me explain why. Cocoa beans contain flavanols which are a good antioxidants that can help reduce cell damage to the heart, lower blood pressure and help the lining of blood vessels. In addition, one study showed it lowered LDL cholesterol (a.k.a bad cholesterol) by 5 points. Not a significant decrease but a trend down from indulging in a chocolate craving is great to hear. Flavanols are more abundant in dark chocolate bars ranging from 50-80% while milk chocolate bars only contains 15-25%. For the most benefits choose dark chocolate bars with 60% cocoa and limit yourself to one or 2 squares a day as it is high in calories.
If you are new to trying dark chocolate start with a lower percent cocoa and work your way up. The higher the cocoa content the more bitter the bar will taste. I think most dark chocolate lovers would agree it’s an acquired taste but much more satisfying than milk chocolate.
Brands I like
Multiple varieties of dark chocolate bars that range from 55-77% cocoa with ginger, peppermint, sea salt, almonds, cherries, chilies, raspberries or orange peels added for extra flavor.
High percentage of cocoa and pre-portioned packages. Great to keep around for chocolate cravings. I usually find them near the checkout.
A great balance of protein, fiber and dark chocolate decadence.
Feeling creative or want to design the perfect chocolate bar for you Valentine this month. Check out createmychocolate.com/ to design your own bar. You get to choose the type of chocolate, mix ins and name of your creation. It doesn’t get much better than that.